Hollywood and indie filmmakers seem to be following a recent trend of possessed pregnancy films. This might have come about when the remake of ROSEMARY’S BABY was announced. Regardless of where it came from, I’m onboard for the most part. I like many of these films, those that are well done and provide some nice scares. But unfortunately, for every good one, there are several bad ones as well. THE DEVIL INCARNATE, however, puts me in a weird position. The film is not great, but it’s not really terrible, either. It’s a middle-ground demon-flick that some viewers will like, but many will hate. As a result, I am on the fence myself about it.
If you are not familiar with THE DEVIL INCARNATE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Image Entertainment:
The future looks bright for newlyweds Trevor and Holly, but their dreams are about to devolve into a nightmare of unspeakable terror. On a random visit to a tarot reader, they encounter a mysterious old woman who tells them that Holly is pregnant. As the child grows within her, Holly begins to exhibit increasingly bizarre and violent behavior. Soon, their joy is overshadowed by a mounting sense of dread that something sinister lurks within her womb. Desperate to save his wife and unborn child, Trevor searches for answers and discovers Holly may have fallen prey to an ancient curse spawned by an evil demon with an insatiable lust for blood.
Despite the movie’s shortcomings, I definitely think this film should win the award for Best DVD Cover of 2014. There’s something about the image that disturbs me greatly, and I’m not sure why. This unease is an excellent way to promote a film in my opinion, as it almost forces you to watch it.
THE DEVIL INCARNATE is shot well, switching between first-person POV and standard, third-person film shots. I like the difference in perspectives for this film because the first-person angles allow for a deeper, more intense immersion into what’s playing out onscreen. I haven’t seen many films do this before, primarily because it is a difficult concept to pull off, but it works here.
The acting is pretty good overall. I like Graci Carli’s performance as Holly, and Emily Rogers shines as Marissa…however, there are no exceptional displays of acting. The cast as a whole simply seemed to mesh well.
I was disappointed to discover there were no big special effects shots in THE DEVIL INCARNATE, other than a few spots of blood. Given the nature of the film, I was hoping for some decent demonic scenes or even a few spatterings of gore. Unfortunately, we get zilch.
The story is where I found the biggest problems, though. Most of the film is good, specifically the first and second acts. There’s an interesting story about ‘the curse’ at the front of the film, and then a lot of buildup as eerie things begin to happen with Holly. But when things reach a head towards the end, the plot fizzles before it falls apart completely. The viewer is left with a head-scratching ending that arrives abruptly and makes no sense. Up until that point, I was actually going to recommend this film. However, after seeing the way the film ends, I’m not sure I’m going to do that.
I suppose I will just conclude this review by saying THE DEVIL INCARNATE has a lot of potential, but it might leave you angry with the way it falls short. This is one of those ‘watch-it-because-YOU-might-like-it’ sorta titles. It is available now in a variety of formats if you want to give it a chance.